The DNA of the CFO study

The disruption of the CFO’s DNA

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The CFO’s role is being disrupted by digital, data, risk, regulation and stakeholders. It’s time for CFOs to proactively define their role or risk losing influence.

In our first 2010 study: The DNA of the CFO, we painted a picture of a role that had broadened to encompass, not only traditional financial skills, but also more strategic and market-facing responsibilities.

Our latest research shows that, in the intervening six years, four forces have transformed the face of finance leadership:

  1. Digital
  2. Data
  3. Risk and uncertainty
  4. Stakeholder scrutiny and regulation

CFOs are responding to these forces in different ways and we are seeing various profiles and responsibilities emerge. While this provides an opportunity for CFOs to really shape the contribution they make, it also presents risk.

CFOs who do not proactively define their role in the face of these major forces may fail to provide the financial and strategic leadership that their organisation requires.

Our latest 2016 research, based on a survey of 769 Finance Leaders worldwide, was undertaken from December 2015 to February 2016 and supplemented by individual interviews with CFOs from leading organisations. We provide a snapshot of how the findings from the 50 respondents from Australia and New Zealand compare to the global results. We also discuss implications for Oceania CFOs in terms of how they can shape their professional development.

In particular, the 2016 DNA of the CFO study portrays Australian and New Zealand CFOs as being at crossroads. They are expected to take on a more strategic role, yet many feel that their ability to make a broader contribution to the business is constrained by additional operational responsibilities which have been placed on them and by capability gaps, both in their own skill sets and within their finance teams.

EY - DNA of the CFO survey diagram